I look back fondly on this great time. Above all, working in a design team with world-class automotive designers was really awesome. To be honest, I always miss my old design colleagues, but I decided to go down a new path. At this point, a heartfelt thank you to the entire Magna team for the great years together.

I have to mention here that before I came to Magna, I was in Fuore Design in Barcelona as an Intern, where I made TV, Furniture and a little bit of Car Design, to get in touch with the real world of Design.

At the beginning I was able to gain my first experience with the design of bonnets for BMW. This was really cool, because I had to work extremely detailed on a very complicated package, which was more or less the jump into the cold water of industrial design. I worked out quite a lot of nice designs, and the best that BMW choose a few of them for further development. The years later I was able to design together with my chief designer Andreas Wolfsgruber and my colague Tim Doherty engine cover designs for 4, 6, 8 and 12 cylinders. Also some years later we also designed the periphery and therefore the technical design of all parts of a BMW engine room.

The first big car project, where I was included strongly, was the FIAT Bravo, where we got the Clay Model from Centro Stile, and we as Magna Team where responsible to bring it to production. My part was more or less to take care about the design, while bringing it over Class C to Class A and therefore release of the final surfaces.

Fiat Bravo

To work with the great designers at this time from FIAT, like Flavio Manzoni, who is actual Head of Ferrari Design, was just mind blowing for me. It was the first time that I saw how a car changes engineering, surfaces and design to get seriously produced after having a design and clay model. In the end I was really proud to saw it coming out so nicely on the street. For sure i saw it first secretly in the Design Studios from Centro Stile.

The next project was to develop with the Magna and BMW Team a rally car for BMW, in the end you where able to watch it on TV at the Ralley Paris Dakar. It was nice back then that most of the sketches were still created by hand with markers, including a sketch I made for a possible MINI PARIS Dakar. Since it was said that a Mini can’t be “inflated” so big like that, we as designers have proved them wrong. It was possible. In the end, we successfully developed it and “sent the car into the desert”, so to speak, from the marker  sketches and surfacing the final design together with MINI Design. The concept is still there, MINI is still racing in Paris Dakar, even if the form has changed.

After that, a number of MINI projects were added over the years, such as the MINI BEACHCOMBER SHOW CAR, which MINI Design developed and we were allowed to suppor as the Magna Design Team. Here I was able to play a major role in the interior of the seat design, which was also chosen as the design for the show car.

After that came a highlight for me personally because I was invited to the MINI Design Studio!!! to work as an interior designer on the MINI Countryman in Munich. Since the contact between Magna and Mini was great, I got the chance to work on IP, doors, seats and console under Gerd Hildebrand, Mini’s chief designer. Due to my ability to implement, which I had to learn with all healthy rigor at Magna, I then succeeded in bringing the interior team’s designs into a production-ready surfacing and implementing the ideas together with the Mini Surfacers.

In terms of design, I was able to make a strong contribution to the “pipe” seat, which was actually approved and produced by the board of directors. It was produced for years and is still offered today.

When Magna was developing the Opel Cascada together with Opel, we as the Magna team were on board again. In order to work as efficiently as possible, I went directly to Opel Design in Ruesselsheim with design technology legend Bernhard Mauerhofer. We were there, so to speak, to ensure the connection between Ruesselsheim and Graz. During this time we brought the exterior, including the lamps, from the sketch to series production. A backbreaking job that ultimately paid off.

Opel Cascada

In my later years, I became Deputy Chief Designer, and was given more and more responsibilities to organize entire design projects. The projects also changed, now we as Magna Design got the chance to design cars completely as an external provider for the first time. Asian customers in particular created new models, and so we as the Magna Design Team got a big chance. So we went to Asia, Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi and Pune to design entire vehicles from the first line to Class A area approval. During this time I got to know the other side of our globe: a fast-moving, extremely fast-growing world with huge ambitions. A huge challenge for us as a team, but also a great opportunity to grow as a team and now offer complete designs that we have used.

I think that was the most instructive time for me personally, which I now benefit from as a self-employed person. I owe all the know-how to Magna Design, and all the experience would have been unthinkable without this time. Even if I finally decided to work as a freelance designer, I will always think back to this beautiful time and remain in nostalgia.

At this point many thanks again to my design colleagues from Magna Design, take care and keep going. I will also give my best! I think we Designers are all in one boat and at the end, we all just love to create new things and make the world a little better then it was before.


DESIGN STORY: SOLIS NOVA NX 358 263 Johannes Geisler

A vision has become reality. Started as a model and draft of a “next generation model”, the feedback from management and customers was so strong that the Solis Nova NX has matured into a benchmark model within the Solis family. It marks where the journey should go. In terms of design, I was able to develop a completely new design CI, which gives a glimpse of the future of Solis tractor design.

The core of the design task for this tractor was the creation of an innovative, new GLOBAL DESIGN LANGUAGE for the product range of the Indian tractor manufacturer International Tractors Limited “ITL”.

Working closely with the management and with the owners of International Tractors Limited a new design language was selected which meant a break in both design and engineering with Stage 4 implementation.

The DNA of the previous tractors has been taken and developed in such a way that they are fully identifiable as Solis tractors, but still recognizable as the next generation. So I had to respect the tradition and figure out what the successor might look like. That really motivated me and at the same time challenged me as a designer.

For example, the large black grille at the front has been retained, but thanks to a completely new design language and, above all, the side contours are much more dynamic, and the integration of new lamps makes them very distinctive and, above all, authentic.

The lamp technology has been completely changed and switched from simple lighting technology to projector lamps and LEDs. 2 superimposed projector lamps give a clear, innovative and modern look, and together with the LED form the new face and the “Future Look” of the future Solis and Sonalika brands. The LED is designed as an S and means something like the “S from Solis / Sonalika”. Even at night, in poor light and fog, the tractor is clearly recognizable as a Solis tractor.

The exterior of the tractor is heavily inspired by automotive design, with sculptural and dynamic surfaces. The material separation across edges, for example on the grill, results in a very innovative and modern look. Edges are sharp, completely new tooling has been developed to follow the design.

I am very grateful that the management is giving a lot of latitude for progressive design changes, especially in this case. Basically, it is also about trust between the decision-makers and the designer in order to take big steps forward.


The proportions of the complete tractor were changed as the tractor hood was positioned higher in the rear as well as the dashboard in the cab area in front.

The “slope”, i.e. the incline of the hood with regard to the international market, has been slightly increased in order to obtain completely new proportions. The tractor is more dynamic, especially when viewed from the side, and comes along with a lot of self-confidence.

The interior has been completely revised in terms of both design and engineering so that the cockpit and canopy form a single unit.

The interior of the LED S from Solis has been consistently further developed in the dashboard.

All functions are clearly and visibly positioned in the so-called specially designed control panel and are perfectly accessible for the customer.

The flying hood over the instrument panel, analogous to automobile interiors, enhances the interior and offers excellent sun protection.

The Nova NX comes onto the market with a clearly progressive, dynamic and muscular design and thus represents a new benchmark for Solis. It is the model for many future Solis and Sonalika tractors, and opens the door to ITL internationally. Working on this tractor represented a milestone for me. In close cooperation with the owners and decision-makers, every step was taken consciously, and even major decisions that required a great deal of effort were implemented to improve the product. At this point, as a designer, I would like to thank you for the trust you have placed in us.


Design Story about the creation of a global look for a complete product family. Within 5 years the brand is a global player with the support of product design.



Mobility 2 - We as designers have a responsibility for how tomorrow's world will look like



Mobility 1 - Creating the future we want

THINK POSITIVE ABOUT THE FUTURE 1600 1067 Johannes Geisler
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